Fellow train driver pays tribute to his brother killed in Scotland's worst rail crash in 30 years

The brother of a train driver killed in Scotland’s worst train crash for three decades and who had followed him into the railways today laid a wreath to mark the 30th anniversary of the disaster.

Stuart Scott’s floral tribute was among four laid in memory of David Scott, 27, fellow driver Reginald McEwan, 61, and passengers Kenneth Meechan, 20, and Tracy Donnachie, 18, who died in 1991 when two trains collided west of Newton station, near Cambuslang, on the south eastern fringe of Glasgow

A new plaque unveiled today will be attached to the station building.

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The incident, in which 22 others were injured, happened weeks after British Rail had reduced a double track crossover between lines to single track.

Members of David Scott's family with the new plaque beside Newton station: Holly Scott, Lewis Buchan, Stuart Scott (brother), Margaret Scott, Kyle Scott, Lynda Scott (sister) Robert McCaughley, Keirra Scott, Lorraine King (sister). Picture: John Devlin

It led to safety improvements at the junction to avert a repeat of the collision, and Network Rail said the track was re-doubled.

Mr Scott, 50, now also a train driver, told an anniversary gathering beside the station: “Being a fellow railwayman has put me in this unique position where I am able to tell you how proud I am of my brother.

"Those of you who knew David will know he truly was one of the good guys.”

The DB Cargo driver, who is six years his brother’s junior, later told The Scotsman at the event that David had encouraged him to join the railways.

The new plaque to be attached to the station building. Picture: John Devlin

He started as a ticket examiner with British Rail three years before his brother was killed, by which time he had become a trainee driver.

Mr Scott said: “David told me the money was good, along with the perks and pension, job security and comradeship.

"He was a very charismatic individual and a talented artist.

"He used to leave caricatures of his colleagues in train cabs for them to see.

Debris from one of the crashed trains. Picture: Donald Macleod

"Some of them were offended, but after he died it emerged they had kept them.

"They are now displayed in a glass case at the Yoker depot, including one that had been ripped up.”

Mr Scott said rail safety was a big issue, since both he and his brother had worked on trains on the Bellgrove line, in the east end of Glasgow, where two people were killed when two trains collided two years before the Newton crash.

He said: “I can remember actively discussing my concerns, but he assured me such incidents were a rarity.”

Stuart Scott with the new plaque and wreaths for his brother David and the three others who died in the crash. Picture: John Devlin

Mr Scott said his brother’s widow Karen and son Stewart, who was just eight months old when his father was killed, had decided not to attend the memorial event because they were “still hurting”.

It is understood she believes the crash could have been avoided if the junction had not been reduced to single track.

A report into the crash by the Health and Safety Executive concluded that “on the balance of probabilities”, a signal was at red when Mr McEwan drove past it as his Glasgow-bound train left the station at 9.55pm and collided with Mr Scott’s Balloch to Motherwell service.

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Railway chaplain Graham Whitehead, who led the 50-strong gathering, which included a minute’s silence, said: “On the railways, not only do we always remember, but we always try to learn from our loss, to try to make sure that neither we, nor anyone else, ever suffers that kind of loss again.”

The other wreaths were laid by Kevin Lindsay, Scottish secretary of train drivers’ union Aslef, Glasgow train driver Jim Paton in memory of Reginald McEwan and ScotRail head of drivers Mark Ilderton.

The caricatures of fellow drivers by David Scott displayed at ScotRail's Yoker depot

Mr Lindsay said it was still campaigning for culpable homicide charges to be brought against rail companies.

He said: “It is vitally important that we work every day to improve the safety of our railway and do nothing to compromise the safety of passengers and staff.”

ScotRail operations director David Simpson said: “When this accident happened in July 1991, many current railway colleagues were working for British Rail and we all remember the terrible sadness for the relatives of the victims and the whole railway family.

“We will never forget those who died or were injured in the accident and today’s wreath laying and the minute’s silence at Newton station was a fitting tribute to them."

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A minute's silence was observed at Newton station at 10.30am on Wednesday to mark the 30th anniversary of the fatal crash. Picture: The Scotsman

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